Presidential Nomination Battle Intensifies as Gephardt attacks Dean

September 13, 2003

by Dan Balz

The Washington Post

DES MOINES, IA - Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo launched a sharp attack against former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean here Friday, charging that his rival sided with former House speaker Newt Gingrich, R-GA. in Republican efforts to scale back and rewrite the Medicare program in the mid-1980's.

Seeking to slow Dean's momentum in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, Gephardt accused Dean, as a governor, of trying to undermine Medicare and Social Security, tow programs fundamental to the well being of senior citizens and, not incidentally, touchstones to Democratic primary voters, particularly in Iowa.

The attack marked a clear shift in Gephardt's strategy. For months he has attacked President Bush and in recent days has increased the volume of those criticisms, repeatedly calling Bush's foreign policy "a miserable failure."

But n turning his fire on Dean as well, Gephardt's remarks signaled that the Democratic nomination battle has entered a more intense and potentially decisive phase. Dean's ability to weather the attacks could determine whether his surging campaign can be stopped.

Gephardt is not the first Democrat to attack Dean. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. aiming at Dean from the right, earlier warned that Dean's opposition to the Iraq war and positions on other issues would doom Democrats to defeat against Bush in 2004.

Gephardt, speaking to a union audience, quoted Dean as calling Medicare "one of the worst federal programs ever," and his campaign issued a string of quotations in which Dean said Social Security should not be spared cuts to help balance the budget, specifically saying he favored raising the retirement age - a view Dean has recanted in his run for the presidency.

In a statement issued by his campaign, Dean accused Gephardt of engaging in the "politics of the past" and that he was "deeply saddened" by the attack from someone he considered a friend.

"It is a sad day for Dick Gephardt when he compared any Democratic candidate running for president to Newt Gingrich and his divisive policies," Dean said.

The attack came on the eve of a major Democratic picnic in Iowa that will feature the presidential candidates and former President Clinton, and likely will become the backdrop for a weekend of campaigning.

The Gaffes of Dick Gephardt

His most embarrassing quotes, in context.

By William Saletan and Avi Zenilman

Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2003, at 10:38 AM PT

Slate continues its short features on the 2004 presidential candidates. Previous series covered the candidates' biographies, buzzwords, agendas, worldviews, best moments, worst moments, and flip-flops. This series assesses each candidate's most embarrassing quotes, puts them in context, and explains how the candidate or his supporters defend the comments. Today's subject is Dick Gephardt.

Quote: "When I am president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day."

Charge: Under the U.S. Constitution, the president is bound by decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats are "always warning that Republicans will suspend the Constitution," columnist James Lileks observed. If Gephardt had "been in power in 2000," Lileks asked, "would he have invalidated the decision that gave George W. Bush the win? That's a precedent we don't need, unless we want to be ruled by grim generals in mirrored sunglasses who grant themselves 10-year terms."

Context: Gephardt was speaking at a June 22, 2003, forum sponsored by Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. He was criticizing a recent Supreme Court ruling against the University of Michigan's affirmative action program.

Defense: "Dick Gephardt knows the law," said a Gephardt spokesperson. "The president cannot overturn a Supreme Court decision. That's not what he said. He was simply expressing his commitment to diversity and his willingness to use the tools of his office to promote affirmative action programs to the fullest extent possible."

Quote: "My dad was a milk truck driver, a proud member of the Teamsters. He always told me his union's bargaining power made it possible for him to put food on our table" (presidential candidacy announcement, Feb. 19, 2003).

Charge: According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Gephardt's account misses what other family members recall as a central part of [his father's] personality: that he hated driving that truck, deeply resented the series of bad breaks that put him there and objected vociferously to Roosevelt-style government programs. 'My dad was in the Teamsters at Pevely [a dairy company], but that's because he had to be' to get the job, says Gephardt's brother, Don. 'I don't recall him talking much about the union, about how great it was. He prided himself on being a Republican. He hated (Harry) Truman. … He had the feeling that you had to make it on your own, that any kind of welfare program would just raise his taxes." Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune adds that Dick Gephardt "didn't mention that his father also sold life insurance and real estate, which somehow don't convey the same sense of grinding deprivation."

Context: The Post-Dispatch added, "And yet at the same time, Don Gephardt recalls, 'my dad felt that he was a victim of the system. He felt he didn't get his due.' " As to his father's career in real estate, the article mentioned that according to Dick Gephardt, "his father didn't do that much better financially in real estate than at Pevely."

Defense: In May 2003, the Washington Post reported that when asked about the discrepancy between the brothers' accounts, "A spokeswoman for the candidate said [Dick] Gephardt stands by his version, saying he was not commenting on his father's opinion of his job or union, but on the benefits it provided him. 'Don sees it as one thing, and Dick sees it as another,' said spokeswoman Kim Molstre." However, at a forum hosted by organized labor two weeks after the Post article appeared, Gephardt said of his father's opinion of the union, "Every day that we were with him, he told us that because he was in a labor union, we had food on the table, and we had a roof over our head."

Gephardt's Teamster friends


Wiping his eyes and choking up, Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt of Missouri addressed a Teamsters rally in Des Moines on Aug. 9, eight days after receiving the union's endorsement from General President James Hoffa. "How proud my dad would be to see me here today getting the endorsement of his union that fought for him," Mr. Gephardt proclaimed. As Mr. Gephardt never seems to fail to mention, he has proud memories of the Teamsters dating to his childhood. "My dad was a milk-truck driver in St. Louis. He was a Teamster," Mr. Gephardt told an earlier Iowa rally. "He told me every time, pretty much, we were at the dinner table that we had food on the table and I had clothes on my back because he was represented by a union that could bargain to get him fair wages for his hard work."

As it happens, Mr. Gephardt's brother, Don, recalls that his father "prided himself on being a Republican" and did not talk "much about the union, about how great it was." It's also worth recalling that the Teamsters' Mafia-controlled Central States Pension Fund (CSPF) irresponsibly managed the pension of Mr. Gephardt's father, and now operates under court and government supervision as a result of a 1982 consent decree.

Moreover, given the recent "settlement stipulation" between the Teamsters and Overnite Transportation Co., against which the Teamsters unsuccessfully waged a three-year organization campaign that included pervasive violence and intimidation, Mr. Gephardt clearly is not the only person brought to tears by the Teamsters. According to the "settlement," the Teamsters union and its officers shall cease and desist from actions such as "Brandishing or carrying any weapon of any kind, including, but not limited to, guns, knives, slingshots, rocks, ball bearings, liquid-filled balloons or other projectiles, sledge hammers, bricks, sticks or two-by-fours at or near any picket line." They are also barred from "Using or threatening to use a weapon of any kind, including . . . hot coffee, bottles, two-by-fours, lit cigarettes, eggs or bags of balloons filled with excrement against any non-striking Overnite employee or security guard." Also, Mr. Hoffa's Teamsters are barred from "Threatening to kill or inflict bodily harm, making throat-slashing motions, making gun-pointing motions, challenging or threatening to fight or assault employees, threatening to sexually assault non-striking employees or their family members, threatening to follow non-striking employees to their homes, using racial epithets or obscene gestures at non-striking employees."

It is hard to imagine how Mr. Gephardt and the father he so reveres could be proud of a union that perpetrates such disgraceful acts of violence.


October 8, 2003

Gephardt bites hand feeding him

By Sam Dealey

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) has launched an advertising campaign in Iowa knocking corporate agriculture. But federal campaign finance records show he has accepted substantial contributions from big agribusinesses and this year used one company’s corporate jet for campaign travel.

The Gephardt campaign began airing an ad across Iowa last week, the fourth in a series. The ad, titled “Rural,” features the candidate speaking in a field of corn.

“For years, I’ve led the struggle for family farmers, for strong farm prices and for expanded markets for ethanol,” Gephardt says, touting his legislative record on agricultural issues such as country-of-origin labeling and ethanol.

“I’m Dick Gephardt,” the ad closes. “I approved of this message because I want to stop George Bush and the corporate agribusiness interests.”

patrick g. ryan

Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) slams corporate agriculture which helped fuel his drive.

Campaign finance records show Gephardt has received more than $200,000 from two of the largest agribusiness corporations — Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Monsanto.

“The bottom line is that Dick Gephardt isn’t beholden to any corporate interest,” campaign spokesman Erik Smith said. “Gephardt’s got a long career of standing up to corporate interests.”

On some agricultural issues, such as ethanol, the interests of agribusiness coincide with those of the small farmers whom Gephardt is wooing. ADM benefits from continued or expanded ethanol subsidies such as Gephardt has proposed.

“What strikes me is the hypocrisy of this ad,” said Dean Kleckner, a former longtime president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Farm Bureau. “Here he’s blasting big agriculture and agribusiness while accepting huge contributions.”

“I’m not being critical; contributions are the mother’s milk of politics,” added Kleckner, who owns a small hog, corn and soybean farm in Urbandale, Iowa. “But to accept them and then to blast big agriculture and agribusiness is the height of hypocrisy.”

The advertisement followed on the heels of a “national agricultural summit” the candidate hosted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, late last month, during which he attacked the agribusiness behemoths and unveiled his agriculture platform.

“I’m running for president to provide opportunity to everyone in rural America and not just those farmers whose last name is spelled I-N-C-period,” Gephardt said, adding, “I intend to fight for farmers with names like Smith and Davidson, not Smithfield and DeCoster,” two large agriculture-related companies.

ADM’s political action committee has given $68,000 to Gephardt since the 1996 cycle. This year, four members of the Andreas family that controls ADM gave maximum contributions to Gephardt on the same day, totaling $8,000. The only other presidential candidate to receive money from the family was Carol Moseley Braun, who received $2,000.

Gephardt’s presidential campaign filings also show that the campaign reimbursed ADM for almost $4,000 for travel expenses. Neither ADM nor the Gephardt campaign could provide details on the nature of that travel, but informed sources say it was use of the corporation’s airplane.

Monsanto, a large pesticide and seed manufacturer, has contributed $41,000 to Gephardt’s various campaigns since 1979. Although just $8,000 came since the 1996 cycle, individual contributions from Monsanto employees to Gephardt’s campaign committees during that period exceed $60,000 — including $18,000 on July 14, 2002, alone.

“Either don’t take the money and be critical or don’t be critical and take the money,” Kleckner said.

“Throughout Dick Gephardt’s career, he’s always spoken from his heart and done what’s right,” Smith said. “And no campaign contribution is going to change that.”

Gephardt is in a heated battle for the Democratic presidential nod in this make-or-break state with former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.). Recent independent polling in Iowa shows Dean leading the Missourian by several points but still within the margin of error. Roughly a fifth of those Iowans surveyed remain undecided.

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Gephardt gets 16th union endorsement; Dean-Kerry baseball dispute; Washington lawmaker backs Dean

SAM HANANEL, Associated Press Writer Wednesday, October 8, 2003

(10-08) 11:13 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --

Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt won the backing of his 16th labor union Wednesday.

The Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, which represents 120,000 workers, said it would back the Missouri congressman because of his commitment to American workers.

Union president Frank Hurt called the effort to defeat President Bush "the most important thing that any working person can ever do because of his policies that favor the corporations and the rich."

The union has about 2,000 members in Iowa, which is holding presidential caucuses on Jan. 19. Gephardt called the number significant, saying he would need about 30,000 votes to win in Iowa. "If I can just turn out the union supporters, then we'll be close to that number," he said.

Gephardt has won support mostly from trade and industrial unions with a collective membership of more than 3.5 million, but still remains less than halfway toward his goal of gaining a coveted labor-wide endorsement from the AFL-CIO.

Last week, the AFL-CIO delayed a decision on whether to endorse a presidential candidate.

John Kerry not only is questioning presidential rival Howard Dean's change of allegiance from the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox, the Massachusetts senator is betting some chowder on it.

As Boston prepared to face archrival New York in the American League Championship Series, Kerry said Tuesday that if the Yankees beat the Red Sox in the best-of-seven series, he'll send New England clam chowder to Dean's campaign. He wants Manhattan chowder from Dean, a New York City native, if Boston wins.

Kerry last month labeled Dean, the former Vermont governor, a Yankees fan. Dean called the accusation insulting and insisted he backs Boston. A one-time Yankees fan, Dean said that he switched allegiance to the Red Sox after Yankees ace Roger Clemens beaned New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza in 2000.

"Howard Dean has a relationship with the Yankees that goes way back so we hope he is willing to put some chowder behind his childhood team," Kerry spokeswoman Kelley Benander said.

But Dean isn't taking the bet.

"Howard Dean is as much of a Yankees fan as John Kerry is Irish," said Dean campaign spokeswoman Dorie Clark. Despite his Irish surname, Kerry learned earlier this year that he is descended from Austrian Jews after a newspaper charted his family history.

Clark said there was no reason to bet because the candidates are rooting for the same team.

Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington is endorsing Howard Dean in the Democratic presidential primary, the ninth member of Congress to back the former Vermont governor.

Members of the House, such as the eight-term McDermott, are delegates who will vote at the Democratic National Convention.

Associated Press Writer Ken Maguire in Boston contributed to this report.

Missouri Democrats will stump Iowa for Gephardt




Don't expect to see much of Missouri's top Democratic officials later this week, as dozens of them head north to help their longtime ally, Rep. Richard Gephardt.

Gov. Bob Holden, state Auditor Claire McCaskill and Mayor Francis Slay are among a parade of prominent Missouri Democrats who are planning to travel to Iowa to campaign for Gephardt, who needs to win Iowa's caucus on Jan. 19 if he wants to advance his bid for the presidency.

"We really believe in Dick Gephardt and want to do everything we can to help him," said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who is traveling with several like-minded friends to Iowa on Friday. Joyce plans to stay through the Jan. 19 caucus.

Gephardt's quest for the White House is one of the few points of agreement between Holden and McCaskill, who is seeking to oust the governor in the August primary.

Part of the reason for the huge Democratic trek to Iowa is that many of Missouri's party's officials - including Holden and state party Chairwoman May Scheve - got their political start with Gephardt, either as aides or volunteers.

All told, Gephardt's campaign estimates that more than 1,500 Missourians are expected to travel to Iowa sometime this week. All will be paying their own way.

"Those going will be knocking on doors, making phone calls and speaking to Iowans about why Dick Gephardt is the best candidate to defeat George Bush," said Missouri campaign director Jason Norton.

Said Holden campaign spokesman Caleb Weaver, "The governor is going up on his personal time ... to talk about why he supports Dick Gephardt." Holden's wife, Lori Hauser Holden, was campaigning with Gephardt in Cedar Rapids this weekend.

Holden is among the crowd traveling to Iowa later in the week. Those officials include Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell, state Treasurer Nancy Farmer, McCaskill, U.S. Reps. William Lacy Clay Jr. of St. Louis and Jerry Costello of Belleville, Jackson County Executive Kathryn Shields, former Gov. Roger Wilson, former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan and former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver.

Scheve predicts personal endorsements will carry weight with Iowa voters, even though Iowa's political leaders have split their support. The state's most prominent Democrat, Sen. Tom Harkin, endorsed Howard Dean on Friday.

Still, even Missouri Republicans are impressed by the effort that top Missouri Democrats are making in Iowa on Gephardt's behalf. State Republican Party consultant John Hancock quipped, "I believe that it's entirely likely that the Missouri Democratic Party establishment will have more electoral success in Iowa than they have had in Missouri the last couple election cycles."

Slay said his schedule in St. Louis is so tight that he may only be able to spend part of Sunday in Iowa. But he'll do it for Gephardt, the mayor said.

"It's really important for this state, this city and this region to have someone of Dick Gephardt's caliber in the White House," he said.

Reporter Jo Mannies

E-mail: jmannies@post-dispatch.com

Phone: 314-340-8334

Dean Lags Far Behind Edwards; Gephardt Finishes Fourth


Published: January 20, 2004

DES MOINES, Jan 19 — Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts won the Iowa caucuses here Monday, brushing aside the insurgent candidacy of Howard Dean with an appeal that he would be the strongest candidate the Democrats had to beat President Bush.

Senator John Edwards of North Carolina came in second, captapulting him into the first tier of contenders in a showing that ended up pushing Dr. Dean into third place.

Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri appeared headed for fourth place in his second bid for the presidency, a devastating showing that Democrats said would almost certainly force him out of the race.

Dr. Dean conceded even as Iowans were voting, and when less than half the vote had been reported.

"I'm delighted to finish in the top three," Dr. Dean said in an interview with Larry King on CNN. "On to New Hampshire."

With more than 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Kerry had almost 37.5 percent of the delegate support awarded in the caucuses. Mr. Edwards had 32 percent, Dr. Dean 18 percent, Mr. Gephardt 11 percent and Dennis Kucinich 1 percent. More than 113,000 people had participated.

The victory by Mr. Kerry would seem to validate the thoroughly unconventional campaign tack he took: to come to Iowa to replenish a candidacy that had been languishing in New Hampshire, and use an unexpected victory to power him back to life in his neighboring state. By every measure, his showing here gave him a huge lift as he headed back to New Hampshire to confront the candidacy of Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who skipped the Iowa contest.

The day also delivered a huge and unexpected victory for Mr. Edwards, who seemed delighted if a bit surprised by the outcome tonight.

"My message is finally coming through," he said. "In the end, the caucusgoers heard it. That's the reason for this momentum and this surprise."

The result was a serious setback for Dr. Dean, who had campaigned intensely across this state for more than a year. It was a clear disappointment to a candidate who just a week ago was confident of victory here and in New Hampshire. Surveys of voters entering the caucus sites suggested that what was Dr. Dean's central appeal — his opposition to the war — had done him little good on Monday night. Instead, the issue that Democratic voters here and in New Hampshire repeatedly said was a top priority — finding a candidate who could beat President Bush — weighed heavily upon them, to Dr. Dean's disadvantage. Among the more than a quarter of voters who called electability their top priority, Mr. Kerry won by a ratio of almost two to one.

Dr. Dean was on a plane Monday for Manchester, leaving little doubt about where this battle is about to turn: to the state with the first direct voter primary.

"I'm looking forward to the primary," Dr. Dean said. "It's a new day, a new state."

Iowans who voted in the caucuses were far more likely to cite health care and the economy than the war in Iraq as their most pressing concerns in this election, even after a year in which the war in Iraq significantly shaped the Democratic presidential contest, according to a survey of voters entering caucus sites.

The survey found that the caucuses, the most competitive Democratic contest this state has had in at least 16 years, produced a spike of new interest, with about half of caucusgoers saying they were attending their first caucus. At the same time, the survey confirmed what voters here and in New Hampshire have repeatedly said from the start of the year: That defeating President Bush was a top priority for Democratic voters this year.

More than a quarter described it as the key consideration in casting their votes.

Three in 10 said the decisions were based on the candidates' taking strong stands on issues.

In a sign of how the climate here has changed over the last six months, barely 15 percent said the war in Iraq had shaped their final decision, even though 75 percent said they opposed the war. Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, emerged as a major contender here in large part by opposing the war in Iraq, drawing a sharp contrast with three opponents who voted for the war while in Congress: Mr. Gephardt, Mr. Kerry Mr. Edwards.

Dr. Dean won barely half the support of voters who called the war in Iraq their top priority. And opponents of the war split almost evenly between Dr. Dean and Mr. Kerry, who voted for the Iraqi resolution in Congress, a position for which he was repeatedly lambasted here during this campaign.

The survey also suggested that the central theme of Mr. Gephardt's appeal -- pledging to fight against overly liberal trade agreements -- did not fare well. Barely five percent of voters named that as their top issue; and he won the support of just one-third of union households.

Veteran Gephardt Quits Presidential Race

Mon January 19, 2004 10:08 PM ET

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Veteran Democratic politician Richard Gephardt will drop out of the U.S. presidential race after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, U.S. television networks CNN, FOX News and MSNBC said.

The caucuses were the Democratic Party's first big contest in the run-up to a Nov. 2 election. Gephardt, a congressman from neighboring Missouri and who won Iowa in 1988, had the most to lose of all the candidates. The conventional wisdom was he would be strong in the American heartland